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Riley Knight

Graduate Student

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About Riley

Riley began her career in research in Dr. Ethan Lippmann’s lab at Vanderbilt studying the blood-brain barrier and neurodegenerative disease. While the subject of her research may have shifted, her approach to working in the lab has not. She can usually be found listening to My Favorite Murder or This Podcast Will Kill You while running experiments.


When not in the lab, she loves to go on walks with her husband, watch the Bachelor with her girlfriends, and test out new sourdough recipes. Her love language is food, so she often cooks elaborate meals for her friends and family. She is particularly obsessed with her rescue cats, Jarvis and Friday, and will enthusiastically share photos of them upon request.


Bachelor of Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Spanish, Vanderbilt University (2020)
Advisor: Professor Ethan Lippmann

Favorite Quote

“The most damaging phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”

-Grace Hopper

Scientific Hero

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Favorite Paper

The Impending Crisis of Access to Safe Abortion Care in the US. 

Grossman D, Perritt J, Grady D. JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 23, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.2893

If you could be a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?

"Autoclave – high pressure, high temperature, and highly temperamental"

Riley's Research

Riley’s current work focuses on identifying small molecule inducers of trained immunity through high-throughput screening. She aims to harness these molecules for prophylaxis against infectious diseases and to improve existing immunotherapeutic treatments.

Lab Publications 

Robust tolerogenic dendritic cells via push/pull pairing of toll-like-receptor agonists and immunomodulators reduces EAE. 

Deak P, Knight HR, Esser-Kahn A. Biomaterials. 2022 Jul;286:121571. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121571. Epub 2022 May 11. PMID: 35597168.

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